The school bell rang, marking the end of school at MacArthur Middle,but not everyone was interested in hurrying home.
Eight-grader Vincent Baxter gathered his books and headed for Room 153, where he spread out his homework assignments and began to tackle his least favorite subject -- math.
He and the 10 other seventh- and eighth-grade students were not alone. Eight volunteers from Fort George G. Meade military base were there to make sure his math problems were solved correctly and to chatabout anything else on his mind.
"I'm here to get my fractions under control," Vincent said without looking up from his book.
"I domy homework here, then I have a chance to go home and watch television and have free time," he said.
Leaning over to monitor his progress was Army SPC Specialist Earl Riley, who is a long way from his Kansas home but wanted to find a way to help out in the community.
"They didn't have anything like this when I was in school," Riley said. "I would have studied more."
Vincent's math teacher, Kathy Colston, also stopped in the room to check on her student.
"There is somuch pressure with MSPP (the Maryland School Performance Program)," Colston said, looking back over her shoulder at Vincent.
"There isso much to take up our time that we can't stay after school with students, like we would like. I'm glad to know that they have a place togo when they need help," she said.
Guidance counselor Carol A. Borum hopes to attract more students to the hour-long after-school tutoring sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
A one-page reminder went home to parents at the beginning of the month, encouraging their support in improving grades.
Borum's year-round Outreach Program is inits fifth year. She seeks to offer more stability to a school with ahigher-than-average student mobility rate. Because so many students'parents are in the military, pupils are continually transferred in and out of school.
In addition to tutoring, many of these same students participate in a summer program designed to expose them to careers, college life and mentors, as well as to boost their self-esteem.
"It provides a nurturing environment and lets them know people care," Borum said. "It's another way to give children an opportunity to broaden their academic skills as well as broaden their exposure."
Air Force Sgt. Pierre Miles is no stranger to the school.
This is his second year of volunteering at MacArthur.
As students entered the room, Miles greeted them and made sure a tutor was immediately atthe student's side.
One student asked if anyone was available to help with English.
"Anything you need, we do," Miles said with a broad smile, offering the girl a seat.
"They're a good group of kids," he said.
"It's a good benefit to the kids.
"They encouragedme to go back to college to take classes," he said.